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Book Review: Fluid Frames by Corrie Francis Parks

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Book Review: Fluid Frames by Corrie Francis Parks

I have a great fascination with stop motion animation. It is an incredibly tedious way to make films, yet it is an area of animation that offers unique possibilities of expression and experimentation - and a chance to literally get your hands into the creative process. Animating with more unusual, and fluid materials, such as sand and paint, offer their own unique challenges and possibilities of experimentation. When I learned of the new book Fluid Frames, by animator Corrie Francis Parks, which is centered on animating with these materials, I was immediately intrigued.

Fluid Frames: Experimental Animation with Sand, Clay, Paint, and Pixels
Paperback: 240 pages
CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN - 9781138784918

Fluid Frames is divided into two main sections. The first section is really an extensive introduction, getting you thinking about experimenting and laying the foundations for the process. It begins with an excellent look at the history of experimentation in film and then provides advice on telling your story, storyboarding, research, etc. This section also shows how you can set up your own studio, and goes on to explain the fundamentals of animation, especially as they apply to stop motion: timing, spacing, staging, easing, etc.

Digital technology is also introduced in this section, showing you how to incorporate it and enhance your work under the camera. Adobe's After Effects is the tool covered in this book, however the ideas can be carried over to other applications.

The second section is where the book fully explores animating with the materials of sand, paint, and clay, individually. There is an introduction to each which notes the pioneers in these materials, followed by exploring the techniques of working with them, setting up the studio, adding in digital work, and even sound design concerns.

This section ends with a look at getting your film out to the public, including preparing a process video, promoting your film, and submitting to festivals. Appendices at the end of the book contain case studies of fluid frame animation on a broader scale, and a listing of artists' profiles with links for more exploration and inspiration.

The book is very thorough, with plenty of supporting imagery, step-by-step exercises, excellent pro tips and interesting anecdotes scattered throughout. The author uses plenty of excellent film examples throughout the book, including her own award-winning film, A Tangled Tale. I highly encourage you to check out this beautiful film.


Fluid Frames author, Corrie Francis Parks at work on her film, A Tangled Tale

Fluid Frames is a wonderful and unique book covering a fascinating subject, and one that can be referenced time and again. It's also very inspirational, and easily the most enjoyable art-related book I've had the chance to look at. If you have an interest in this type of animation, or even if you just have an appreciation for the art, Fluid Frames is sure to please.

Thank you, Corrie, for all your hard work in putting this wonderful book together!

Pricing

Fluid Frames: Experimental Animation with Sand, Clay, Paint, and Pixels is available through CRC Press, as well as Amazon at the price of $53.95 (USD).

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